Beer man knows

About the pungent aroma that surrounds the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys, Ian R. Beste thinks it is not hops but comes from another ingredient in the process of cooking up Budweiser for the masses. He emails:

I take my car to be serviced at the Saturn dealership on Roscoe that is part of the Galpin Auto Empire so I am familiar with the occasional olfactory contribution from the A-B brewery to the west. From my off-and-on ten-plus years of experience brewing beer at home, I haven’t smelled hops, I’ve smelled the mash.To explain: the mash is an early stage of beer-making where the brewer takes malted grain (traditionally barley) and soaks it in hot water. The mash usually smells like some kind of natural cereal like muesli or some such. The soaking produces a grainy liquid called wort that is full of sugar (maltose) which is drawn off and boiled. It is during the boil that the hops are added. The smell of hops added to a boiling wort produces a smell that can described (depending on the type of hop) as “flowery” or “piney.” The smell of hops is an important flavor component to beer, even in a lightly-hopped style such as Budweiser, so it is less likely that the hop smell would be blown off, unlike the grainier mash smell. Of course, I don’t live in the neighborhood so I might have missed the distinct hop smell if it is in fact released into the air.

Ian R. Beste
“Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew”
Burbank CA

Thanks. I think hops was my novice’s leap of ignorance. Good to hear from someone who knows.

Speaking of the brewery on Roscoe: The Busch Gardens amusement park that was there from 1966 to about 1986 is recreated in detail in Atari’s video game Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. Take a tour of the scenes with text explaining what you see.